PREVIEW St. Vincent @ The Anthem, 11/27

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BY MAGGIE HENSIEN//  On Monday, November 27, St. Vincent will be returning to the District with a show at the Anthem as part of her “Fear the Future” tour.  The tour follows the October release of her fifth solo album, MASSEDUCTION. 

As the musical project of Annie Clark, St. Vincent has been creating works of art that have pushed the boundaries of not just the genre of alternative, but music as a whole.  The multi-instrumentalist is best known for her acumen as an electric guitarist, a skill she has been cultivating since the age of 12.  Clark kicked off her career when she joined The Polyphonic Spree in 2003 after dropping out of Berkelee College of Music.  Three years later, she joined Sufjan Stevens’ touring band, and released her debut album, Marry Me, shortly after her departure from the tour.  Among her other works are solo albums Actor (2009), Strange Mercy (2011), and St. Vincent (2014), the latter earning her a Grammy for Best Alternative Album, which made her the first solo female artist to win in that category in 20 years. St. Vincent also released a collaborative work with David Byrne of the Talking Heads, Love This Giant (2012), and made her directorial debut with XX (2016), an all-female directed anthology film.   

Her latest album, MASSEDUCTION, employs more elements of pop than has been characteristic of past works.  Clark, however, uses the sonic brightness of her work as a means to explore deeper themes ranging from estrangment (“Happy Birthday, Johnny” and “New York”), performance (“Sugarboy”), and the disparity between life as it’s lived and life as it’s intended (“Hang on Me” and “Slow Disco”). With Jack Antonoff in production, St. Vincent presents a soundscape that is at once upbeat yet introspective, vivid yet heartbreaking.

For example, the infectious bassline and the commercial jingle chorus of “Pills” serves as the backdrop for a sincere reflection on the tediousness of a medicated past.  The title track, “MASSEDUCTION,” is rife with wordplay and professes what Clark has called the album’s thesis: “I can’t turn off what turns me on.” The album’s two singles, the piano ballad “New York” and the snakingly melodic “Los Ageless,” form a bi-coastal meditation on loss and obsession with fleeting youth. Each track of St. Vincent’s amalgamates to form a gorgeous, multidimensional work of extreme self-consciousness and sonic genius.

Tickets for St. Vincent’s show at the Anthem can be purchased here!

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